This was what I heard the other day, when I went to an authors' event at a store. I think we're all familiar with that type - the dead-eyed author who is just trying to make living, just trying to sell one more book. Every new person who walks by is fresh meat. Anyone successful merits a silent curse. There is nothing more to this writer than sales.
Art was forgotten long ago.
Writing is a hard past-time, and there are more than enough obstacles to knock back those who attempt it. Getting your books published is even trickier... and even once you've got that contract, the question always is: will they sell?
I underestimated the pull of that question. That question is a like a vortex that sucks an author deep down into the profound and anxious marketing hell that consumes so many of their colleagues. That question still bothers me. But I've come to a conclusion: there's only so much one person can do. And marketing was never my job. Publishers hate to hear an author say this, but I think it is undeniably true that the vast majority of us did not pen a novel because we are so good at selling things. We penned it for various reasons, some of which are highly personal... intimately spiritual.
We are artists, not salespersons. I do not recommend that an author just sits around without telling people that their book is published. I do not recommend that they do not contact schools and libraries and other places that might be interested in purchasing it. But neither do I think that selling books should rule their life. There are more important things. And writing your next book would have to be one of those.
Publishers are wonderful people. Yet they don't always understand. Publishers are the business people, and we authors are the artists. They're good at what they do, and we sure as heck better be good at what we do.
If there's any advice I wish someone had given me in the weeks before my first book's publication, it would have been this: don't lose yourself. I have to remind myself of that over and over again. Remember the writer that you were before publication. That's the writer that needs to go on putting words on paper.